Britt Heaps is one of our good friends and coaches at Zingano Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Broomfield, Colorado. He is a purple belt and has a fantastic, focused style of jiu-jitsu that he will be putting on display at Fight To Win Pro 92 in Denver on November 3rd.
In May, Britt received a call that would change his life.
He had just finished competing in the IBJJF Denver Open (a jiu-jitsu tournament) and was on vacation relaxing with his family.
While there, his brother called to let him know their mother, Maryanne, had just been hospitalized with severe abdominal pain. He left his family vacation and went to her. Shortly thereafter, she was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer and given weeks to live.
In June, she moved out to Colorado to spend her last days with Britt, his wife Lora, and their two daughters.
She passed away mere weeks later in August.
Maryanne's sudden and painful death really hit Britt hard. She was his only parent growing up and supported him and his three brothers through everything: his love of music; the ups and downs of high school; his decision to move out of small town Wyoming and start a family somewhere new. All of it.
She was most excited about him starting jiu-jitsu with his young family years ago.
She backed him every step of the way.
Maryanne was the kind of mom we all would love to have.
You can tell all of this by the way his eyes glow when he talks about her.
Channeling the emotion her death has caused him, he has pushed himself even harder to follow his dreams and honor her memory.
A few weeks after her passing, when Britt was just getting back on the mats, one of our teammates - Mallory Martin - mentioned that he should try stepping on the pro stage. Britt knew this could be a great tribute to her, and a way to battle the depression that goes with losing a parent.
He liked the idea, so he reached out to Seth Daniels of Fight To Win. A week later he got his letter: he was officially going to be a professional athlete, if only for a night.
Since that day, Britt has been training day-in and day-out in preparation for his match, and I'd be scared to be the guy across from him.
In honor of his mother, he will be donating all of his winnings to Purple Stride, an organization hell-bent on eradicating pancreatic cancer.
And that's where we at Ground Shark come in.
When Britt announced that he was competing, we immediately reached out and offered a sponsorship. When he told us why he was competing, we saw a golden opportunity:
Why not help out? Instead of paying him to wear our patch, why don't we also donate to Purple Stride and do our part to help make a difference?
We pitched the idea, and he loved it.
So we're joining forces.
Today, October 17th, we are starting pre-orders for our Purple Belt Roast. It's a single-origin dark roast that's rich with chocolate and dark fruit, and is a very clean cup. We are releasing the roast on November 3rd, the night of Britt's match.
Up until then, for every pre-order you place, we will donate five dollars to Purple Stride.
It may not sound like much, but with your help we can help Britt make a difference.
With your help, we can save lives.
With your help, we can change the world.